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Garden Gleanings - Maybe garden musings are better than today's news?

Posted Monday, September 29, 2008, at 10:01 PM

The news is so depressing lately with politics and now the economy, that it was an easy choice to head to the garden this weekend. That, the cool mornings and the fact that my wife thinks I should weed-eat the beds.

Well, I did get the weeds out and my mind ran on and on, gratefully NOT about politics or economy. Here are some of my thoughts this weekend:

Corn is in the grass family, so why can the developers of seed hybrids not breed a corn that is as tough, drought resistant and prolific as the grass that invades my garden.

Instead they breed plants that are resistant to the the weed killers and insecticides they developed. They breed seed that can not reproduce, so you have to buy more seeds from them. Government probably paid for their research, only to have to bail them out when they misappropriate their income and we are on the brink of a food shortage, unless they stay afloat.

It was a good year for stink bugs. They're probably known by numerous name (Shield bug because of their shape) but they all all seem to stink when excited or crushed. Bad year for tomato horned worm even though I had more tomatoes in the garden than I have in years.

Lady bugs and bees were disappointingly scarce, but there is always next year. The eternal hope of the gardener. We need a big dose of that right now.

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I know there are certainly much more pressing things to write about, but our figs are finally ripening! There was a time we had so many that we got tired of eating them, but after a two year hiatus, they are sweeeeet. Maybe I will have some for the garden meeting for those who have never tasted a fresh one.

One of my fall projects (besides fixing and painting the garage) will be to totally rework a garden bed in from of our attached greenhouse. I plan to remove ALL the soil I can (therefore all the weed roots) and replace it with a mix of soil and amendments.

Then I started musing about plants to put in there for the summer that would shade the glass and reduce overheating, but would be gone for winter to allow winter sun heating. I have thought about this for some time and can not believe that I had the answer right in front of me.

The cypress vine we use in other parts of our garden is perfect. A slow starter, but once it gets going, it is phenomenal and easy to clean up. I was looking at some other plants that would get invasive or were SO aggressive that they would damage the wood siding.

A V-8 moment?

-- Posted by stevemills on Wed, Oct 1, 2008, at 8:57 AM

Two years ago, our house was one big ladybug house, or so it seemed. Thousands of them in our attics, greenhouse and even bedrooms. We would capture them for relocation and even put out sugar water bowls for them to catch a drink and eat.

So many died inside and I just wonder how they adjust to our winters that are cold, then warm then cold. Do they go out and forage during the warm days or stay inside and read a good book?

If they forage, what do they eat, since most bugs of good sense are hunkering down under rocks, logs or underground? Is there a way to feed them during the warm snaps or is it necessary?

We plant plants to attract beneficials in the warmer months, but besides a nesting place, is there something else we can do to keep them around and healthy during the winter?

-- Posted by stevemills on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 10:39 AM

Great Article! Gardening is great therapy for both the mind and the body. Keeps you mind alert and you body fit. After two years of research into the Convergent Lady beetle, the need for a nesting box was present. http://ladybugneedahome.blogspot.com/200...

-- Posted by Laisseraller on Tue, Sep 30, 2008, at 9:33 AM

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Steve Mills and his wife have one daughter. They previously owned two coffee/ice cream shops, currently operate an internet sales company and teach classes, but his primary job involves the paper industry worldwide. Hobbies and interests lie in gardening, photography, recorded music and of course, their pets.